PaddleWise Discussion on Ocean Playboats

Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 20:52:07 -0700
From: "Mattson, Timothy G" 
Subject: [Paddlewise] Ocean play boats

I need help with my next boat purchase and thought I'd draw on the
collective wisdom of the paddlewise group.  

Let me set the stage a bit.

This weekend, I was exploring some cool rock gardens around Yaquina head in
Oregon. I love this type of paddling.  I use my Plastic Sea Lion when I play
in the rocks since its more maneuverable than my Glider and it doesn't make
me cringe when I slam into a rock (cheap plastic boats are great for that).

Unfortunately, the sea lion totally sucks in the surf.  It loves to pearl.
And with its high weight, cranking it around to get positioned in the waves
is really hard.  I put up with it, though, since I really don't have a
better boat to use in this situation.

Well, this weekend, I realized that my use of the Sea Lion in breaking waves
isn't just hard -- its dangerous.  A big wave (probably 8 feet, though it
looked like 20 --- if you know what I mean) grabbed me and started to hurl
me to shore.  To my horror, the Sea Lion immediately started to pearl
setting me up for a very ugly face plant (and possible serious injury in the
shallow water).  I violently wrenched the boat into a broach and layed down
into the breaking wave to side surf  through the  chaos.  The maneuver
worked, but the violent gyrations and intense bracing injured the muscles in
my upper arm.  

My arm will heal, but I'm too old to batter my body like this.  It can't be
the conditions (afterall, I can't imagine staying away from the sruf zone),
so it must be my boat.  I need a sea kayak that cruises well, is highly
manuverable, and doesn't pearl so easilly.  I need a "sea kayak playboat"! A
boat that cruises OK but is maneuverable for surf, rock gardens and sea

I've been "talking" to Matt Broze about the coaster and have almost decided
to head up to Seattle and buy one.  But, I want to get other opinions first.
Do any of you out there use Coasters?  What do you think?  I'm short stubby
and fat (5'8" and 225 pounds) but I think I will fit.

Anyone in the Portland Oregon or Corvallis areas have one I can look at?
I'd love to sit in one and make sure I fit before taking the road trip up
north to try one out.  Better yet. Does anyone in the Northwest have a used
one they'd like to sell?

Any other "sea kayak play boats" you'd recommend?  I've heard the pintail is
nice for this type of paddling.  Any other strong, ocean play boats you'd

thank you,

- --Tim

Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 14:39:37 +1000 From: "Nick Gill" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Ocean play boats I don't know the coaster. I have a VCP plastic skerray which is great for surfing and mucking around in rock gardens etc. takes a battering , is maneouverable, doesn't readily pearl, catches waves nicely etc. OK for tracking but not great, but I ve happily done trips up to ten days in it. My plan is to get a second boat - a glass 'trip' boat - when I've finished this ??!!!#** thesis and have a job and money again. Weight is not bad for plastic, but none seem to be light. nick
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 01:53:52 -0000 From: "David Martin" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Ocean play boats Tim, Have you considered wash-deck kayaks? The Ocean Kayak Scupper is an excellent boat for rock gardens, sea caves and is fair in surf. The O.K. Scrambler XT is better in the surf but takes more effort to cruise. They are both nearly indestructable and are an excellent value. The Tsunami X-15 is possibly the best boat made for the purposes you describe but you would pay considerably more for one of these beautiful, 60-pound, kevlar, battleships. Knee straps or a lap belt should be used to improve your connection to the boat in the waves. Low braces will help to reduce arm and shoulder injuries. I have rarely seen anyone use an enclosed-cockpit kayak on the exposed coast of Northern California (Mendocino.) I imagine that conditions that you have in Oregon are similar. If you can find a copy of any of the Tsunami Rangers' Videos, I would reccomend watching. Ocean Kayak Home Page: Tsunami Kayaks: And for some great stories about a guy who has paddled a great deal of the Northern CA coast in a Scupper, Check out; Mike's Kayak Journal: "Extreme Sea Kayaking" a new book by Eric Soares and Michael Powers, provides an in-depth look at the subject of kayaking the exposed coast. Best Wishes, Dave Martin
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 07:46:19 -0400 From: "Jack Martin" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Ocean play boats I can second the Pintail recommendation --- and I know what you mean about the Sea Lion, which I also own --- but don't know the Coaster at all. (Seems like there was an intense discussion on that boat a while back --- may be in Clyde's archives somewhere.) The Pintail is definitely a "rock garden" kind of boat, and will hold up well as a "British Heavy"; it's highly maneuverable with the skeg up, okay in surf with some skeg down, and adequate for touring, although it is not a fast boat nor does its volume make if a great expedition boat --- long weekends, especially if you don't need to carry a lot of water, are fine. I'd also second the suggestion to look at Ocean Kayak boats. I have a basic Scrambler --- not the XT mentioned --- and it's fun in surf, but I can't keep the thing tracking well in even small surf. Just wants to fall off in a broach at any opportunity. (I'm sure it's just technique.) But, with thigh straps --- or, , with a waist belt (not for !) --- it's maneuverable, relatively easy to roll, and it can carry a very large beer cooler --- but not in surf. For long. Jack Martin
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 07:37:53 -0700 (PDT) From: "K. Whilden" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Ocean play boats Tim, The coaster is the standard by which all other rock garden boats are measured. A new kayak which you may want to investigate however is the Sun Kayaks' Velocity. This boat was designed by Corran Addison, who is one of the leaders in whitewater kayak design. It is 13' long, and is claimed to be good in the surf. I otherwise know nothing about it, except that it costs ~$700, and that Riot makes good surfing whitewater kayaks. You can learn more about it on Other short plastic boats are the Necky Looksha IV sport, and the Northwest Kayaks Sportee (a Coaster knockoff, with all of its bad looks and none of its good handling... or so I've heard). Incidently, Pygmy has a new 14' Arctic Tern which they are about to release on the public. It was designed for use in rock gardens and surf. Cheers, kevin ___________________ / Kevin Whilden \ |Dept. of Geosciences ___ |University of Washington \ |kwhilden | ________________________/
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 10:30:58 -0700 (PDT) From: Brian Windrope Subject: RE:[Paddlewise] Ocean play boats-Coaster I do not know the Pintail but I can heartily endorse the Coaster. John Lull, a Tsunami Ranger, ACA instructor and all around ocean play demon uses a Coaster and swears by it. His is a reinforced Kevlar model I believe. He paddles out of Half Moon Bay in California where I took his ACA cert. class and paddled his Coaster a few times. It is short enough to turn easily, lighter than many boats, tracks well, has good waterline length and is therefore much faster than it's length would indicate. It really is a great all around coastal play boat. I haven't seen many though and can't say where to go to paddle one. Might Matt know where there is one here in Oregon? Of course sit on tops can work great for coastal play too. What's that we say? It all depends... Brian Windrope Corvallis, Oregon
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 12:02:30 -0700 (PDT) From: Julio MacWilliams Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Ocean play boats I second Nick's evaluation of the plastic Skerray. But I found a small caviat on it. In a rock garden, I accidentally bang my Skerray's front against a rock, and it bended into an ugly shape. The nice point of the bow now looks like a dirty sock made into a ball. Does anyone know how to put the tip of a plastic boat's bow back into shape? thanks! - - Julio
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 12:36:29 -0700 (PDT) From: "K. Whilden" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Ocean play boats Usually the way to fix this it to leave the kayak sitting in the hot sun and it will return to its own shape. Otherwise, use a heat gun to warm it up. I once saw an old dancer that had a similar encounter with a rock, resulting in a grapefruit sized bulbous bow. An hour in the sun and it was good as new. Good luck, Kevin ___________________ / Kevin Whilden \ |Dept. of Geosciences ___ |University of Washington \ |kwhilden | ________________________/
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 13:44:02 MDT From: "Shawn Baker" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Ocean play boats Set the stern of the boat on a sawhorse or other suitable waist-high workbench. Pour boiling water into your front hatch and reshape the plastic when it heats and softens. If you need to push from the inside, push with a 2x4 or broom handle from the inside, or pour the water out quickly and push out the dings (with a pair of leather gloves on)--if you can reach the bow from your forward hatch! It may take several applications of boiling water (boil water, dump in, pour out, dump fresh boiling in, pour in, dump out) before the plastic softens enough to be shapable. I've also heard of people using a hot iron through a towel to heat whitewater boats to change their shape. I'm not sure if this would work for a double-layer boat, but for any other HDPE boat, it oughta work. Shawn